For sound sleep, the human body needs to transition gradually from an amped-up state to a relaxed state. It is where sleep hygiene comes into play. Taking care of sleep hygiene is one of the best ways to get good sleep. Read on to learn the critical aspects of sleep hygiene and tips on maintaining it.
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is a phrase that can be tricky or confusing to many of us. When we think of the word hygiene, we tend to relate it to brushing our teeth, washing our faces, and other self-care activities. While these are imperative, sleep hygiene means practising healthy habits throughout the day and before sleep to create an ideal ambience for uninterrupted sleep.
Proper sleep hygiene can improve our ability to sleep like a baby. It includes the following activities:
- Following a well-patterned nightly routine that gives you time for relaxation before sleep
- Having a fixed pattern of waking up and going to bed every day at the exact times
- Staying away from distractions such as mobile phones at least one hour before bedtime
- Creating a calming sleep environment
- Avoiding caffeine a couple of hours before going to bed
- Limiting food portions
- Reducing stress.
Five sleep hygiene tips to improve your sleep
Here are the top five sleep hygiene tips:
Design a sleep schedule and stick to it
It is crucial to find out how long we need to sleep, ideally not more than eight hours. We should wake up and go to bed at the same time each day to maintain a routine, regardless of whether it’s a weekday or a weekend. Sticking to a consistent sleep-wake cycle can do wonders for our mental and physical health.
Pay attention to diet.
We should neither go to bed feeling hungry nor bloated. It’s essential to avoid heavy, fat-laden meals before bed, and such dinners can make us uncomfortable and keep us awake all night. Moreover, keeping an eye on alcohol, caffeine and nicotine intake is critical hours before bedtime as their stimulating effects may not allow us to sleep properly.
Create the right sleeping ambience
Our bedrooms are like our refuge where we feel the safest and happiest. Therefore, the environment should reinforce the same emotions. We should keep the dark of our bedroom temperature-controlled and quiet. Choosing blackout curtains to filter light from outside entering the bedroom is a good idea. Taking a comforting bath or practising meditation can also promote sound sleep.
Reduce daytime naps
Many of us take naps during the daytime. However, we should ensure these naps are not so long that they disrupt our nighttime sleep. Limiting naps to not more than one hour is advisable.
Include exercise in the daily routine
Exercising can help us sleep better, although doing jumping jacks right before bedtime can affect your sleep. Find an ideal time during the day to exercise and get those feel-good hormones pumping.
How does sleep hygiene improve sleep?
Many of us may wonder about the reasons behind using sleep hygiene to improve sleep. The reason is simple. Proper sleep hygiene lets us sink into the best place to sleep well without disturbance. Quality sleep is assured when our daily routine, pre-bedtime dos and don’ts, bedroom environment, and sleep schedule are in sync and optimised. The best part is the top five tips for sleep hygiene discussed above are not hard and fast rules that we must follow no matter what. We can adjust them to accommodate our individual needs. No two human beings are the same, after all.
Does yoga and meditation help to maintain sleep hygiene?
According to industry experts, yoga and meditation help our minds rest while inducing sleep. If we religiously practice these activities before bedtime, we can channel peace inside us and forget all our worries. Here’s how yoga and meditation can help to maintain sleep hygiene:
- Yoga and meditation enhance mindfulness and boost melatonin levels in our bodies. They also help minimise sleep-related disturbances.
- Practising deep breathing exercises relaxes our bodies and induces better sleep.
- Meditation and yoga are the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety levels, thus helping us fall asleep.
- Yoga and meditation calm our nerves and rejuvenate our minds and bodies to infuse us with a sense of calm.
Some yoga asanas that promote better sleep include halasana (plough pose), uttanasana (forward bend), savasana (corpse pose), and shishuasana (child pose).
Quality sleep is integral to our mental, physical and emotional health, and it improves the overall quality of our lives and boosts our productivity levels. Sleep hygiene plays a critical role in getting good sleep.
Even after ensuring healthy sleep hygiene, some of us may still experience sleep-related issues. Don’t worry! United We Care is a one-stop solution for all your sleep-specific concerns. We connect people with the best sleep therapists, life coaches, and psychotherapists. Contact us today!